The University of Minnesota Duluth has signed athletic director Josh Berlo to a three-year contract extension, Chancellor Dr. Lendley (Lynn) Black announced today.
The contract extension acknowledges the tremendous program-wide multidisciplinary success of Bulldog athletics under Berlo’s leadership. UMD athletics continues to be one of the most respected and accomplished Division I/II athletic departments in the NCAA.
The new contract will keep Berlo in Duluth at least through June 2026.
“Bulldog athletics continues to excel across the board under Josh’s leadership,” Black said in a press release. “Our student-athletes are successful in competition while also maintaining impressive academics. Josh provided solid and responsive leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and has managed successful fundraising efforts that help support athletic programs and our students. He has built a strong leadership team and is a steady leader in ensuring the continued success of Bulldog athletics.”
Berlo came to UMD in 2013 from the University of Notre Dame after a 13 year tenure and has since led the Bulldogs to greater levels of excellence that include multiple national and conference championships, record-setting academic achievements, significant facility enhancements, enhanced marketing and fan engagement as well as a strategic focus on the student-athlete experience.
“I am so pleased that Josh will continue to serve in this important leadership role at UMD,” said Dr. Lisa Erwin, UMD Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Dean of Students. “Working together, the relationship between athletics and student life has never been stronger and more effective. Initiatives have included support for student mental health, training for students and staff on a number of topics of mutual interest, and programming for alumni relations. Josh’s support and advocacy for all Bulldogs makes him an outstanding partner and I look forward to working with him on more ways to engage our students for the foreseeable future.”
Since his arrival, Berlo has hired six head coaches covering 11 of the 16 varsity programs at UMD. Four of those coaches have led their teams to NCAA postseason competition and two have been named national or conference coach of the year (Maura Crowell, women’s hockey, national coach of the year in 2017; and Mandy Pearson, women’s basketball, conference coach of the year in 2020). Moreover, 14 of the 16 Bulldogs teams have reached the NCAA tournament during Berlo’s eight years guiding the department and all have excelled in the classroom, in the community in competition.
“Josh is committed to the academic excellence of our student-athletes and the overall average GPA proves that his efforts have been successful,” said Dr. Stephen B. Castleberry, NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative at UMD and Professor of Marketing & Business Ethics in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics. “He increased academic counseling for student-athletes, providing enhanced services including on campus and at Amsoil Arena, where our hockey teams practice and compete. His tireless work with gender equity and inclusiveness both on our campus as well as in our conferences, his being named a DII Athletic Director of the Year, and the countless improvements in facilities has provided an incredible student-athlete experience.”
Under Berlo’s leadership, Bulldog athletics has also furthered its history of women leading UMD’s athletics programs and was honored in 2016 with an “A” rating by the the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sports.
For these and other accomplishments of Bulldogs Athletics, Berlo was named a 2018 NCAA Division II Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year.
“I am appreciative and grateful to Chancellor Black, the university community and Bulldog faithful for their support of me and our great Bulldog athletic programs,” said Berlo. “Meg, Michael and I love being part of the Northern Minnesota community and are fortunate to be surrounded by so many extraordinary individuals who have made our time during the past eight years so enjoyable. It is a humbling honor to support the amazing Bulldog student-athletes, coaches and staff that I work with each day. We have built a rock solid culture of excellence in the classroom, community and in competition. I am proud of the significant accomplishments of our athletic department and we would not be where we are today without the support and leadership of everyone. I look forward to fostering an even greater level of excellence.”
Berlo supervises UMD’s coaches, staff, administrative personnel, and is responsible for the Bulldogs’ nearly 400 student-athletes. He also develops and implements the strategic plan, manages an annual departmental budget of approximately $12 million, directs the use of UMD athletic facilities, and leads fundraising and marketing efforts.